Frequently Asked Questions (Chicago Ceremony)
Here you will find some answers to commonly asked questions about graduation.
The FAQs below pertain to the online student commencements. If you are attending a campus ceremony, please contact the graduation coordinator at the campus for more details. Click here for campus contacts.
See below for frequently asked questions about the graduation ceremony.
- When is graduation?
Kaplan University holds graduation ceremonies throughout the year at various locations that online and campus students can attend. Please visit the Ceremony Info page for upcoming ceremony dates and information. Dates are posted as soon as they are scheduled.
- Am I required to attend graduation?
No, the ceremonies are celebratory events and graduates are not required to attend.
- How do I know if I am eligible to participate in the ceremony?
Candidates may walk in the graduation ceremony provided they have completed all degree requirements by the date of the ceremony. If you are not sure when your degree will be complete, please contact Education Advising to go over your credits and requirements. Online students can reach Education Advising at 866.522.7747. Ground campus and Learning Center students should contact their academic team for assistance.
- Can I attend a ceremony if I have a balance on my student account?
Yes. Owing a balance only prevents graduates from receiving their diploma, and the actual diplomas are not handed out at the ceremonies.
- What do I have to do to attend a graduation ceremony?
Students who want to attend a ceremony must register by filling out the online Graduation Participation Form found on the Ceremony Info page of the Graduation Center. Participation forms are due eight weeks prior to the ceremony date. Forms will not be accepted after the posted deadline
- How much does it cost to attend graduation?
Attending the ceremony is free, however, graduates are responsible for purchasing their caps and gowns and any travel expenses associated with getting to the ceremony, such as hotel and airfare. Graduates who can no longer attend the ceremony must notify the Graduation Event Team at least 5 weeks prior to the ceremony date to avoid the cancellation fee.
- When should I register for my ceremony?
Registration begins approximately 4 months prior to the ceremony date and ends approximately 8 weeks prior to the ceremony date. Once registration begins, the online ceremony participation form will be posted on the Ceremony Info page of the Graduation Center.
- How many guests may I bring to the graduation ceremony?
Guest seating limits vary with each ceremony as they are based on the theater’s seating capacity as well as the number of graduates expected to attend. Children 3 years or younger are expected to sit on the lap of an adult. Please see the Ceremony Info page for the upcoming ceremony’s guest seating limits.
- Can I bring additional guests above the allotted amount?
After completing the online participation form, students may write to email@example.com with the number of additional guests they would like to bring to the ceremony. If seats are available after registration closes, the Graduation Team will approve the additional guests. Additional guests are not guaranteed as they are dependent on the number of graduates attending.
- How can I get invitations for family members who need to apply for travel visas?
While there are no formal invitations sent out, graduates can write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can provide a letter to be given to the embassy.
- Can I attend a ceremony at a later date?
Graduates may attend any ceremony that falls after their degree completion date. Please visit the Graduation Center frequently for updated ceremony dates and information.
- Can I attend a graduation ceremony at a nearby Kaplan University campus?
Online students are welcome to attend Kaplan University campus ceremonies. Please see the Campus Ceremonies page for dates, locations, and contact information.
- Can I attend the ceremony if I’ve earned a certificate?
Yes, graduates earning certificates may attend the ceremony, provided that eligibility guidelines have been met.
- When and where do I need to check in for graduation?
The graduate check-in area is typically located in the host hotel’s lobby or theater lobby. Check-in time and dates vary with location, so refer to the Graduation Ceremony Schedule of Events on the Graduation Center for specific ceremony check-in location and hours.
- What time do I need to arrive at the ceremony?
Graduates who have questions or need to exchange caps and gowns should arrive one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. All other graduates should arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony for line-up and announcements. Refer to the Graduation Ceremony Schedule of Events on the Graduation Center for specific line-up area information.
- What time will the theater doors open for guest seating?
Theater doors will open one hour prior to the start of the ceremony. Please visit the Ceremony Info page for upcoming ceremony schedule information.
- Are seats assigned?
Graduates will be seated by degree. Guest seating is open and on a first come first serve basis. Ushers will monitor and ask that seats not be saved.
- Will the ceremony be broadcasted live over the Internet?
Yes, the ceremony will stream live via webcast at www.graduation.kaplan.edu. The webcast link will be posted 24 hours prior to the ceremony.
- Will my name be announced if I don’t attend the ceremony?
No, due to the volume of graduates eligible to attend the ceremony, only the names of those in physical attendance will be announced. However, all eligible graduates’ names will be listed in the ceremony program.
- Can I purchase a copy of the ceremony on DVD?
The ceremony is not available on DVD; however the full ceremony will be available for replay on the Graduation Archives page.
- Will there be a photographer at the ceremony?
Yes, a professional photographer will be onsite taking photographs of graduates before and during the ceremony.
- How do I purchase professional graduation photos?
Graduates will be contacted by the photographer approximately 2–3 weeks after the ceremony, as soon as all photos have been posted to their website. If you are not contacted within a month of your ceremony, please visit the photographer’s site at http://events.lifetouch.com/kaplan
- Is there a pinning ceremony for nursing graduates?
Yes, a pinning ceremony for nursing graduates will take place during graduation weekend. Please refer to the Graduation Ceremony Schedule of Events on the Ceremony Info page for specific pinning ceremony time and location.
- Can I bring guests to the pinning ceremony, and will they need tickets?
Guests of graduates are welcome to attend the pinning ceremony and tickets are not required.
- Is there a hooding ceremony?
Master’s and doctorate-level graduates will be hooded during the graduation ceremony. There are no separate hooding ceremonies.
Caps and Gowns
See below for frequently asked questions about the ordering your cap and gown.
- Where do I order my cap and gown and can I order a set if I am not planning to attend graduation?
Graduates are responsible for purchasing their caps and gowns and may do so through Jostens. You do not have to attend a ceremony to order a set. Those attending should order their set at least 7 weeks prior to the date of the ceremony or sooner to ensure there is time to exchange it if necessary. All caps and gowns are black, and tassels are color coded by degree.
- Can I purchase or exchange my cap and gown at the ceremony venue?
Kaplan University does not sell caps and gowns. As a courtesy, a small inventory of caps, gowns, and tassels will be available onsite for exchange purposes, however, there is no guarantee that your size or tassel color will be available. We recommend ordering your cap and gown at least 7 weeks prior to the ceremony to ensure you have a gown.
- My degree is not listed on Jostens’ site. How do I ensure I am ordering the correct gown and tassel?
Degrees are broken down by major/curriculum on the Jostens site. Please see the Cap and Gown page for a listing of degrees to determine which major/curriculum to select on your order form.
- Can I purchase a tassel only?
Tassels come with the cap and gown set however there is an option to purchase the tassel separately on the Jostens site.
- Do I need a hood?
Hoods are part of the master’s-level cap and gown package and come with the set when ordered through Jostens. A hood can be ordered separately for those who already have a cap and gown.
- Can I purchase a cap and gown if I’ve missed the order deadline?
Graduates who miss the ordering deadline may contact Jostens’ Customer Service at 800.854.7464 to see if they will accept a late order. Please note that late orders may be subject to additional late and/or rush delivery fees.
- Can I use my cap and gown set from a previous ceremony?
As long as your cap and gown is black, you may use it again. Please note that certificate-, associate’s-, and bachelor’s-level gowns are the same. Master’s and Doctorate-level gowns are slightly different and come with the required hood.
Diplomas and Transcripts
Question about your transcript? See the FAQs below.
- When will I receive my diploma, and do I have to attend a graduation ceremony to receive it?
Diplomas are mailed by the Office of the Registrar approximately 8 weeks after completion of the final class and all program and financial requirements have been confirmed by University officials according to the University Catalog. For questions regarding diplomas, please email the Office of the Registrar at email@example.com or call 866.522.7747 (Toll Free). Diplomas are not distributed at the graduation ceremonies.
- Where can I order a frame for my diploma?
Diploma frames can be ordered from the Student Store. Click here to view frames and other alumni items.
- What size will my diploma be?
Diplomas are 8.5” x 11.0"
- How do I obtain a copy of my transcripts?
Official transcripts can be ordered through Parchment Exchange. Please see the “Transcripts” link in the Registrar and Credits page of KU Campus for ordering instructions.
See below for frequently asked questions about academic honors.
- How do I know if I have earned academic honors?
Effective January 1, 2016, associate’s- and bachelor’s-level graduates who complete their degrees with cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) of 3.70 or higher will achieve academic honors status. Certificate- and master’s-level graduates are not eligible for academic honors. Academic honors statuses will be noted on diplomas and transcripts.
The academic honors statuses are as follows:
- Cumulative GPA of 3.70–3.79—Cum Laude
- Cumulative GPA of 3.80–3.99—Magna Cum Laude
- Cumulative GPA of 4.0—Summa Cum Laude
- Will I receive honor cords to wear at the ceremony?
Only associate’s- and bachelor’s-level graduates who attend the ceremony will receive an academic honor cord during check-in.
- Will I be recognized for academic honors at the ceremony?
Graduates who achieved academic honors will be recognized during the ceremony agenda and their honors status will be noted in the ceremony program.
- Can I wear my honor society cords at the ceremony?
Graduates who are members of an honor society may wear their honor society regalia (cords, stoles, pins, etc.) at the ceremony. Honor society graduates should contact the Office of Student Life at StudentLife@kaplan.edu. Graduates must be existing honor society members prior to their final term.
Learn more about travel to and from the ceremony.
- Does Kaplan University provide hotel or airfare to those attending the ceremony?
No, graduates are responsible for covering all necessary travel expenses. As a courtesy, Kaplan University secures a limited block of rooms at hotels near the ceremony venue. Please see the Graduation Travel page for a list of hotels for the current ceremony. Graduates are responsible for reserving their own rooms. We recommend booking reservations early to avoid sold out rooms.
- Will transportation be provided between the airport and hotel/ceremony venue?
Graduates and guests will be responsible for securing transportation between the airport, hotel, and venue. Shuttle services are available at most airports. Advanced reservations are required for round-trip airport transportation. Current ceremony shuttle information will be posted in the Graduation Travel section of the Graduation Center prior to each ceremony.
Purchasing Additional Graduation items
See below for frequently asked questions about how to purchase other items for your graduation.
- Where can I purchase additional items, such as printed graduation announcements, class ring, and diploma frame?
Printed announcements, class rings, and diploma frames can be ordered through Jostens.
- Where can I purchase Kaplan University branded items?
Kaplan University branded items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, totes, and more can be ordered through the Student Store.